Wednesday, November 10, 2004

IPN posts

I'm working at the International Policy Network. A think tank of sorts, that prioritizes creating connections and sharing research amongst and between different think tanks around the world. They've been working, in particular, at setting up think tanks in places like Africa.

But they also produce their own studies, and fight the good fight with original material. I'm on board as a research assistant (or fellow, I'm not sure what the title is, really) in their Sustainable Development Network. Occasionally, I'm asked to post to the blog that they have running. And I've done this twice now. Once on Indoor Air Pollution, and the other time on Individual Tradeable Quotas in fishing.

The former is about energy consumption in poor places and how the sort of material people there use for energy contributes to health problems of all sorts. First world groups are trying to encourage alternative energy sources to combat the problem (which causes all sorts of respiratory ills). This is good news, in a sense, but the focus, says the blog, should be on increasing energy consumption regardless of source. There is a positive correlation between higher energy consumption and positive health and environmental outcomes. That might help here as well.

The latter is an attempt to involve the incentives of the market--in particular, of ownership and property rights--in the fishing industry around the world. Fish stocks are in a calamitous state, and political fights about fishing are as volatile and fervent as ever. ITQs suggest a way out. "Owning" some portion of the fish encourages husbandry of the resource. It has had success in places as disparate as Alaska, Australia, Canada, and, in particular, Iceland. Although implementation poses a political problem, once implemented, the quota system appears to work well.


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